He’s been drug-free for the past few years, and even at the age of 48, he’s still in great shape for a man his age. And, if the rumors turn out to be accurate, Kurt Angle could be making his WWE return by April 2017. Could this mean an appearance at WrestleMania 33, which takes place in the first week of the month, and what role could he play for the company, now that it’s relying more on younger talent and less on part-time performers from its recent past?
Although he was one of WWE’s top stars of the “Ruthless Aggression” era, Kurt Angle had left the company on less than favorable terms. Officially, he was let go from his contract in 2006 due to health issues, but according to a previous report from Wrestling Inc citing his appearance on The Steve Austin Show, Angle had been dealing with an addiction to painkillers which he hid from WWE officials, including owner/chairman Vince McMahon.
Angle’s drug use had continued to spiral when he joined TNA in 2006, as he was charged multiple times with driving under the influence between 2007 and 2013. Following his last DUI arrest in 2013, Angle announced that he would be entering rehabilitation, and as he told “Stone Cold” Steve Austin last month, he’s been clean since then, having “learned so much” from his rehab stint.
Due to Kurt’s well-documented problems with drugs and alcohol, WWE has been reluctant to bring him back, even as he’s been taking numerous independent bookings since leaving TNA earlier this year. But talk of a possible Kurt Angle WWE return fired up earlier this month when the wrestler hosted a Q&A session on his official Facebook page. Replying to someone who asked about whom he wanted to face in the independent scene, Angle said that he’d like to have match with Ryback, but added that he might be “done” with the indies after his match against Cody Rhodes in March of next year.
“I don’t know. Maybe Ryback, but I think I may be done wrestling at indies after Rhodes/Angle 3 in NEW (Northeast Wrestling) in March.”
There have also been rumors that Kurt Angle’s WWE return may potentially take place at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Earlier this week, The Inquisitr reported that Angle had been contacted to appear as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match, which makes it possible he may be back in WWE as early as January.
However, it now looks like there’s a better chance Angle will be back later on in the year. Citing longtime wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WrestlingNews.co reported that Angle has been telling promoters he will be “going to WWE in April.” That could suggest a surprise appearance at WrestleMania 33, which will be held on April 2 at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
On the other hand, WrestlingNews.co did warn that this isn’t the first time Kurt Angle has teased a WWE return in recent times, though it acknowledged that Angle’s plans to stop taking indie bookings after March might be a good sign that something is in the works.
Although it’s been reported in the past that Vince McMahon’s concerns over Angle’s health have kept him away from the company, Angle has done a good job maintaining his sobriety since his 2013 rehab stint. That, according to WrestlingNews.co, could hint at a change of heart on McMahon’s part. But if Kurt Angle does make a WWE return in April as rumored, it may likely be as a part-time performer. At 48-years-old, Kurt is now working a much lighter schedule than usual, so there’s a chance he may follow in the footsteps of Goldberg and only be booked for a limited number of matches over a few months’ time.
[Featured Image by WWE]